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make do + mend 40s suit refashion

Added Sep 14, 2011

by elegantmusings

Virginia, Virgin...






This isn’t so much a straight-up sewing project, but I felt it would appeal to a few of you (hopefully!!)! I recently was asked to participate in a collective refashioning project by Portia of the Miss P blog . The premise was to take a mystery (thrift store) garment she sent me, and rework it. The challenge would be taking something ho-hum and making it into a garment I’d be excited to wear! I was sent a rather dowdy floral suit, several sizes too large. However, having been on a bit of a 1940s “make do and mend” kick lately, I was inspired by the idea of completely refitting the suit and making it into a cute 40s-inspired number. (Note: in the “before” picture below, I added a few clothespins to the suit to get it to fit my dressform a bit better—it was far too big!)

I’ve gone over some of my details in the post I wrote for Portia’s blog here , but a quick break-down:
- refit the jacket completely, including removing the original sleeves, recutting those and sewing them back in. I also eliminated the original pockets and sewed those shut (the placement would have been grossly off when the jacket was refit).
- cut a new neckline that was distinctly inspired by the 40s.
- added some snazzier buttons; two vintage glass ones from my stash.
- added a bow to the neckline I made from what was originally the jacket collar!
- recut the skirt into a shorter a-line style; refit the waistband too.

I love how it came out—definitely am going to be wearing this over the last few weeks of September while I can still get away with it! I’m really inspired now to tackle a few more 40s-inspired “make do and mend” projects. Because as much as I love sewing a dress from start to finish, sometimes it’s just as enjoyable (and challenging!) to rework something with a few well-placed stitches and seams to bring it back to life.

Be sure to stop by my blog !

Material Notes

suit, thrifted,




Spring, Summer
Garment Type

11 Comments Sign in to add a post

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    Mar 13, 2012, 01.23 AMby olystyrene

    What a fabulous refashioning project! You did a fantastic job!

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    Sep 19, 2011, 11.44 AMby elegantmusings

    Thank you everyone for your lovely comments on the refashion!!!! :)

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    Sep 17, 2011, 09.26 AMby Super Jeanette

    stylish and stunning refashion, Casey! it’s very inspiring.

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    Sep 16, 2011, 05.12 AMby alexus1325

    WOW! I can’t believe that started off as such a horrendous monstrosity! You look so fabulous :D

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    Sep 15, 2011, 09.34 PMby iroiro

    Wow – your version is completely gorgeous! I am amazed how you could turn something so unflattering into a style statement that fits perfectly. Very inspiring..

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    Sep 15, 2011, 04.09 PMby Pepper Toast

    LOVE the neckline on that suit. Perfection!

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    Sep 15, 2011, 12.44 PMby rachelnyc

    Simply fabulous! You’re the fairy godmother to this poor orphaned suit. It now has a new life and new look!

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    Sep 15, 2011, 11.16 AMby machelefranklin

    You did a fantastic job, the outfit suits you and your style perfectly now. Impressive !

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    Sep 15, 2011, 05.16 AMby Ralf Schmitz

    i adore the idea of refashion oldfashioned pieces! this turned out so lovely and suits you so well. (the 40s seem to be the ideal time for you. that look is just fantastic for you!!!) so stylish, sexy and cool! bravo!!

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    Sep 14, 2011, 11.29 PMby cyndi-de-crafti

    Absolutely gorgeous! Love how you put together the entire look with the make up box, purse and gloves and even your hair and make up.

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    Sep 14, 2011, 10.32 PMby mollykatherine

    I read your blog post about this – I’m totally bowled over, its absolutely stunning! great job with this refashion !

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